Hedl started his two-week bowhunting trip on Oct. 21, 2011 with an 18-1/2 hour drive from Pennsylvania to Buffalo County, WI. After he settled in, Hedl checked his equipment and made his way to a stand that had seen plenty of action in past years.
He watched a number of does and smaller bucks frequenting the area during the first two days and says he knew it was just a matter of time before the woods would break loose and the rut would be in full swing.
Hedl decided on the third day that he would need to be in the stand at just the right time in order to have a chance at a trophy-class buck. Over the next six days he was presented with several shots at decent bucks in the 140-inch range, but he was hunting for a true wall-hanger to bring back to his Pennsylvania home. So, he let them walk.
Then, on Nov. 6, Hedl chose to sit in a stand overlooking a waterhole alongside an unpicked cornfield. The temperature was in the mid 40s that day, with winds gusting up to 35mph from the southeast.
Just before sunrise, Hedl says he began questioning the decision to move. His initial plan that morning was to hunt until noon and then return to the house to have lunch and do some chores. Then the first buck appeared, and the sightings continued with a parade of a dozen bucks passing his stand by noon. “With a morning like this I wasn’t going anywhere!” he says.
He relocated to a stand that was better suited for the wind conditions and settled in for the afternoon hunt. He was in the stand less than 30 minutes when the first buck appeared from an inside corner of the cornfield. Several more bucks passed throughout the afternoon, but Hedl kept his patience in check. He knew if he was going to connect with a trophy, it was going to happen on a day like this…and he waited.
Shortly after 4:00 p.m., Hedl watched a small 6 point buck pass by. The buck stopped to his left and looked back over his trail. Ten minutes passed and the small buck hung around. Then Hedl heard the sound of two bucks sparring over the ridge. He decided it was a good time take his bow off the hanger and attach the release. “This was one of the best decisions I made in my life,” says Hedl.
Within about a minute, a large buck ran past his stand and stopped 20 yards away. Hedl says it looked like it was being chased. The buck joined the small 6 pointer and surveyed the ridge top to their left. Hedl also fixed his attention on the ridgeline, anticipating another visitor.
His instincts were correct. A large rack appeared over the ridge just moments later. Hedl knew it was a shooter, so he tried to calm and steady himself, waiting for the buck to enter his shooting lane. When the deer was at 45 yards, Hedl brought his bow to a full draw and settled the pin.
Once the buck entered a clear lane, just over 20 yards away, Hedl let out a healthy grunt to stop him for a shot. The buck froze and Hedl fired. He watched the arrow disappear into the deer’s vitals. The buck sped over the next ridge and out of Hedl’s view. “I reached to hang my bow up and heard the buck crash a short distance from my stand,” he says.
He gave the animal plenty of time to expire before following the blood trail directly to his trophy’s resting place on the side of the ridge. He was stunned when he recognized the deer. He had shot a buck that had been a mystery to the landowners and everyone who had hunted the property.
The landowners collected this buck’s right side shed for the last three years, and there are only two trail camera photos of the buck — one from each of the last two years.
Nobody ever reported actually seeing the deer in the woods. Hedl knew the buck existed, but never dreamed he would be the one to finally harvest the animal. The landowners thought the buck had moved off the property prior to rut and would return in the winter to feast on standing crops, bedding down on the side hills. Hedl returned home a little early and with a Buffalo County legend.
The buck sports the following measurements: Green Gross Score 203 7/8″
Main Frame 10 pointer
6 3/8″ Bases
23 Scoreable Points
22 1/8″ Inside Spread
25 2/8″ Main Beams Bill’s buck has a final net non-typical score of 199 5/8″
And here is the official score sheet on Hedl’s monster Wisconsin buck.
Bill Hedl, 44, of Pennsylvania headed to Wisconsin’s famed Buffalo County for his annual bowhunting trip with friends. He spent a majority of the time patiently waiting on his tree stand, passing up shots on does and small bucks. Hedl was waiting for a trophy buck and he finally got a chance almost two weeks into his hunt. Here is his story.